Trump at the G-20 Summit in Argentina

By Will Toomey

The G-20, Group of Twenty, is an international forum in which governments, central banks governors, heads of state, and finance and foreign ministers meet annually to discuss key issues and elements of the global economy. The G-20 was established in 1999, and has since expanded in order for more economic leaders to discuss the international stability of the developed wealthy countries. Nineteen countries along with the European Union make up the body of the G-20, and its current Secretary is President Mauricio Macri of Argentina. Due to his current position of power, the G-20 summit was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, making it the first ever meeting of the nations in South America.

Source: Steffen Kugler/German Government via AP. Accessed on 12/10/2018.

The policies and issues discussed during this summit on November 30th of 2018 told us a lot about the current relationships between the countries with the larger economies in the world, including the United States represented by President Donald Trump. The World Trade Organization (WTO) was called for reform, and this will be furthered discussed in June of 2019 at the next Summit. The final statement made regarding the WTO did not mention protectionism, though, due to Trump’s objection and constant criticism. However, the trade relations between China and the U.S. were altered as Trump agreed to hold off plans of tariffs and organize a 90 day truce in their trade battle. China is interested in buying a substantial amount of products from the U.S. such as agriculture, energy, and more to reduce the countries trade deficits.

Trump also objected the Paris Accords on climate change, in opposition to the other 19 participating and signatory nations that reaffirmed their environmental commitment to this agreement. The importance placed on the subject was evident, for all 19 other representatives fully supported the movement while the United States continued to hold out. This was concerning to others because according to many scientists the U.S. is among the larger contributors to climate change, and not respecting the Paris Accord will continue to be detrimental to a larger and unified global response. The lasts significant negotiation for Trump and the U.S. was with Canada and Mexico regarding the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) , as Trump has been discussing abolishing what he labeled as a “disaster” for some time. The revised treaty regarding trade seems to cause concern for many democrats in Congress, but Trump’s plan to terminate the original treaty puts lots of pressure on them. The summit produced interesting outcomes as expected, for President Trump has shown that he is still not afraid of standing as an outsider.


Candidate for Lieutenant Governor Monte Frank visits ECSU

By Alyssa Wessner

Three weeks before the election, ECSU welcomed the third party candidate for Lieutenant Governor: Monte Frank. Eastern students were excited to hear the platform of this third party candidate. While most of the Connecticut voters chose to cast their ballots for the either the Democratic or Republican Party, this was a historic moment for third party candidates. Monte Frank raised awareness of the benefits of having more options for party affiliation. Students at ECSU will continue to welcome candidates with different party alignments.

Candidate for Lieutenant Government Monte Frank discusses the political platform of his independent party with polisci students Samuel Esteva (Freshman) and Ariana Perez (Sophomore).

This election demonstrated a turning point in Connecticut politics. It showed that third party candidates have the ability to gather a strong base of voters. However, from the start it was clear that the Governor and Lieutenant Governor offices were going to be awarded to one of the two major political parties. Regardless, the emergence of Oz Griebel and Monte Frank suggests a shift away from the traditional two party system.

It is important to keep in mind that this one midterm election is not entirely indicative of future elections in Connecticut. But it certainly inspires hope of a new type of political system in which there are more party options. In my opinion, a more diverse group of parties would make the government function more efficiently. The extreme bipartisanship among elected officials discourages any compromise whatsoever. I believe that with more party options for people to align with, it ensures a more diverse representation of the American public.

Candidate Monte Frank sharing the perils of political campaigning. 


Polisci students represent Eastern at prestigious policy competition at Yale University

By Alyssa Wessner

Last October, Eastern Connecticut State University was proud to sponsor a group of six Political Science majors to attend and compete in the Yale undergraduate International Policy Competition (Yale/IPC). The students who attended were Leigh Generous, Megan Hull, Nour Kalbouneh, Zoe Marien, Jacqueline Pillo, and Joahanna Vega lbarra. There were over 300 undergraduate students from a variety of universities and colleges at the event, including Yale, Harvard, Rhode Island College, Bard College, Bryant University, and West Point. The designated topic for this conference was the maritime crisis in the South China Sea and its implication on regional and global security.

Eastern students saw this experience as truly a transformative.  According to Leigh Generous (2019’) “…this event exposed me to what it might be like to work with future colleagues in the field of foreign policy, as well as both the challenges and rewards to such teamwork”. Leigh hopes to pursue a Master’s degree in International Relations and Security Studies so this event was extremely beneficial in helping her to gain some experience and work with experts in this field. For Zoe Marien (2019’), the event was a unique opportunity of policy application. Zoe highlighted the generosity of nearby coffee shops and restaurants near Yale which offered discounts to the students working on their proposals, which was a necessity for the extensive policy discussion among group members. Zoe kindly acknowledged Eastern’s sponsorship mentioning that  “…I would not have been able to attend had our Department not sponsored our team, and I am honored to have been selected to attend”. She plans to learn more about International Human Rights Law after she graduates from Eastern.

The inaugural meet at the Yale 2018 International Policy Competition (Source: Yale/IPC).

We are extremely proud of the work of our students at this event. They represented Eastern in a professional and intelligent way through their presentations and proposals, addressing issues relevant not only in the class room but beyond, like China’s growing domination in the South China Sea. Eastern will continue sponsoring events like this that allow our students to represent our school and gain invaluable practical experience.

New class: Activist Research Lab

What is an Activist Research Lab?

By Patrick Vitale

In the last few days several students have written to ask me a very good question: what is an activist research lab?

We will not be experimenting on activists in this class! Instead we will experiment with research projects that advance social and political change.

We will first address some very broad questions: How do activists use research in their work? How can social scientists develop projects that promote social justice? What are some of the political and ethical dilemmas of activist research? How can we create research that amplifies voices that are not always heard in the university?

We will answer these questions by looking at the examples of research projects in the Bay Area, Detroit, Toronto, New Haven, New York City, and other locations.

After we address these questions, we will put our learning into practice by developing a collaborative research project on the politics of poverty and homelessness in Willimantic. We will broadly investigate the experience of people who are struggling to survive in Willimantic.

As part of our research we will, among other tasks, meet with local residents; visit the Covenant Soup Kitchen, the No Freeze Shelter, and other local organizations; interview police officers and town officials; map out the availability of affordable housing; and visit the Windham Mill Museum to develop an understanding of the longer history of homelessness and poverty in Willimantic.

The final product of this class will be a collaborative research project that documents the struggles of people facing poverty and homelessness in Willimantic and exposes the laws, institutions, structures, and people who create obstacles in their daily lives.

The inspiration for this class is geographer William Bunge’s Detroit Geographical Expedition. Over the course of several years in the 1960s and ‘70s, Bunge worked with residents to document the ongoing struggle for survival in the poor and predominantly African American neighborhood of Fitzgerald. His team included artists, cartographers, anthropologists, historians, photographers, writers, and most importantly the residents themselves. The goal of the Activist Research Lab is to follow the example Bunge and his co-researchers set in Fitzgerald.

Please feel free to contact Professor Vitale if you have any questions about this class:


Quinnipiac’s Law School Dean of Admissions visits Eastern

Mr. Barrett, discussing Law School options, and the President of the Pre-Law Society.

By Alyssa Wessner

On Wednesday October 3rd, the Pre-law Society hosted the Dean of Admissions of Quinnipiac Law School, Mr. Adam Barrett. This was an extremely interesting and informative event. Mr. Barret gave helpful advice on the admission process and how to find a school that best fits your professional objectives. The students who attended left feeling inspired to attend Quinnipiac and Law School in general.

The President of the Pre-law Society, Megan Hull, shared her thoughts on the event: “The atmosphere at the event was one of excitement, we had a bit of a celebrity in the Pre-law world. In essence Mr. Barrett would be one of the many individuals who will review our applications if we chose to apply to Quinnipiac.” As part of his presentation, the Dean emphasized that students need to find a Law School that fits you and your needs. This particular school also offers many opportunities to advance the careers of graduate students in the legal field and related areas, such as combining a law degree with other options such as business. Megan summarized her thoughts on law school in an easy to remember sentence: “Pain is temporary, a Law degree is Forever.”

Pre-Law students and other attendees learning the strong commitment that Law School entails.